So I’m almost done with a major year-long work project, and my reward to myself is that I’m replacing my buggy slow annoying old 2007 computer (that I bought when I got hired at my job). I use my computer for gaming, but I’m by no means a graphics freak: as long as the FPS rate is greater than say 15 I seriously am unlikely to notice. Pretty is good, but I’m not going to pay out the butt for it. I just want to be able to play games that are coming out today: Company of Heroes, for example, slows my machine down pretty badly during the more intense sequences.
I’m not replacing the monitor. I’ve got a 2 Gb stick of relatively new memory, plus two old 1 Gb sticks, although maybe none of them will be useable in the new machine. I have a decent wireless keyboard and mouse. I can get Office through work. So all I’m looking for is a desktop box plus video-card plus Windows 7.
And here’s the kicker: I’d like to spend less than $400 on the box. I’ll then spend maybe $100 or in that range on a video card.
-Am I insane to think I can do this? (I know it’ll be a cheap system, but I figure some folks will want to call me insane, so here’s your chance).
-Are refurbished systems worth looking at? I’ve been windowshopping at TigerDirect (since I get a 5% discount there), and the refurbished systems tend to be very cheap, but I’m not sure what their reliability record is.
-Does anyone see any particular system that I should snap up? I’m willing ot make the purchase any time between now and the end of March–I’d really like to have the machine show up by April 8 or earlier.
-Is there anything in particular I should be looking into? All I really know to look for is at least 4Gb RAM and a fast processor, but at this point I don’t even know how to read processor speeds. I’m happy to go with Athlon.
-Is there any prebuilt brand right now that has a wide bad reputation that I should therefore avoid?
I’m happy to do a barebones kit + Windows, if that’d be cheaper or more reliable than buying a prefab.